Students interested in reviewing the roles of the Central Union Sabbaticals met yesterday with mixed views over the proposals to create a new position which will separate the DPEW role into a Deputy President (Education and Development) and a Deputy President (Welfare).
The idea was conceived when withdrawing from the NUS and ULU left us with no external representation and a potential defecit in the support for Education and Welfare campaigns. ICU President, Jenny Morgan, maintains that leaving the NUS was the right decision and stated that she believes that ICU is really 'bigger than the NUS' in a recent programme of Ask the President on StoicTV.
Supporters of the proposal include CGCU Academic Affairs Officer, Alex Grisman, who will be proposing the paper to Council along with Welfare Campaigns Officer, Tim Barrett. Alex commented at the meeting "Splitting the roles will only be to the benefit of all students at Imperial. Students are apathetic because they fill in surveys like SOLE and see no results. There is a reason why Imperial is the top ten University that fares the worst on the NSS. We're doing something wrong and it needs fixing."
The majority of the concerns about the proposals centre around worries about funding the position. Speaking to StoicTV about the money for affiliating to the NUS, Jenny Morgan said: "the money is in the subvention for NUS Affiliation, we'll try to hang on to it. To do that we're going to have to do something that is really what we would lose from leaving the NUS so that might be representation or legal advice." As chair of the working group, Miss Morgan was keen to emphasise that the discussion should not be about funding but about the priciple position of whether or not we need to have a new sabbatical officer. Assurances have been made that there will be sufficient funds should the changes be implemented and that no other area of the Union will see a financial defecit as a result. DPFS, Christian Carter, is not against the idea of creating a new sabbatical position but would prefer to split his job in half instead arguing 'I wanted to be a Services Sabb as my predecessors focussed on finance but I don't have time with all the minor financial queries that crop up on a daily basis.' He also pointed out that most Unions around the country are getting rid of sabbatical positions not adding them, usually the Finance Sabb.
The proposals should be online by the weekend and the views of students 'on the ground' will be gathered via Friday's issue of Felix. Alex Grisman is concerned that only people who dislike the changes are likely to come forward through this method of gathering opinions. He added that "students are unlikely to make a direct connection between the potential improvements this position could provide and the decision we are making".